“Rest and Relaxation” (Avengers #21 Comic Review)

Avengers #21 Comic Review

Writer: Jason Aaron

Artist: Jason Masters

Colorist: Jason Keith

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Cover: Stefano Caselli & Frank Martin

Variant Covers: Jim Cheung & Marte Garcia

The Day After A Day Unlike Any Other

“Rest and Relaxation”

What You Need to Know

Now that the War of The Realms has ended, and our heroes are victorious, it is now time for the team to relax and lick their wounds. Not every hero has vacation in mind however, as Black Panther takes personal interest in investigating one of the many threats to the Avengers. Can the Avengers stay one step ahead of the forces that are out to destroy them?

What Just Happened

The issue begins with Thor and Iron Man celebrating their victory over Malkeith by relaxing in the hot tub in Avengers Mountain. Captain America is ready for the next mission and wants to assist the clean up effort after the War of The Realms. Thor and Iron Man convince Cap to relax and join them in the hot tub.

In Washington D.C., Black Panther infiltrates the Pentagon to confront Phil Coulson. Black Panther attempts to interrogate Coulson about why he is working with Squadron Supreme of America and why they only seem to care about matters related to the United States. Coulson threatens to have Black Panther arrested and exposed for causing an international incident.   Coulson orders the Squadron Supreme of America to attack Black Panther.

Blade flirts with She-Hulk, and she awkwardly flirts back. Blade informs She-Hulk that he and Boy-Thing are leaving Avengers Mansion to go to find where the Russians hid Dracula. She-Hulk offers to help Blade, but he declines stating that he works better alone when it comes to hunting vampires.

Captain Marvel and Ghost Rider go fishing to catch Muspelheim sharks that are roaming in the waters around Avengers Mountain. Ghost Rider vents to Captain Marvel how terrified he is of his car, being a Spirit of Vengeance, and being an Avenger. Captain Marvel empathizes with Ghost Rider and gives him advice. Captain Marvel shares her battles with the Kree and how she just learned that her mother was Kree and how she processes and copes with her traumatic experiences.

Back in D.C., Black Panther asks the Squadron why they trust Coulson and asks who they really are. Black Panther states they are not really the Squadron and Coulson does not really serve the US Government. Black Panther states the Avengers are not the Squadron’s enemy and teleports before he can be arrested.

Back on Avengers Mountain, Captain America tries to warn the team about Daredevil’s warning regarding the rise of a new Starbrand but the team decides not to discuss Avengers’ business while relaxing as the rest of the team joins together in the hot tub. Each of the Avengers thinks about their insecurities while relaxing. Black Panther researches all the threats to the Avengers in the penthouse of the mountain looking for a connection between them. In Las Vegas, Mephisto decides to make his next move.

My Thoughts

This issue is meant to give the Avengers some breathing room after battling Dark Celestials, Namor and his Defenders of The Deep, The Winter Guard, vampires, and of course the War of The Realms. Even superheroes need to relax, but taking a break does not mean your insecurities go on vacation. Thor and Iron Man are happy to kick their feet up, but Captain America is already preparing for the next threat. Black Panther takes Cap’s preparation to the next level by making a house call to Agent Coulson. It’s still unclear what Coulson is really up to, but his new “America First” mentality is off-putting and reminiscent of current events in politics. Coulson must have paid a heavy price for resurrection. I do appreciate Coulson using what is left of Nick Fury’s NMDs as his personal security system. It’s also pretty awesome to see Black Panther causally infiltrate the Pentagon to confront Coulson.

The exchange between She-Hulk and Blade on Avengers Mountain was very strange and awkward. Jason Aaron does a great job in conveying the awkwardness, but was this scene really necessary? And isn’t She-Hulk supposed to be dating Thor? I hope Blade isn’t being written off this book for good. I know Jason Aaron has said that his Avengers run would have a rotating cast of heroes joining the team but I really appreciated the shine that Blade received from being on the team. I know we’ll see Blade in the upcoming Strikeforce book, but I doubt that will be as high profile as being on the Avengers unless he is given a new ongoing series (which needs to happen!). Upcoming storylines in Avengers would seem to be able to properly use Blade. I did love the Boy-Thing appearance however.

I appreciated Aaron pairing Ghost Rider with Captain Marvel for this issue. Allowing both characters to share their insecurities and fears while also sharing how they cope has seemed to create a bond between the two. It was also cool to see a flaming boat driven by Ghost Rider. Robbie Reyes is probably going to need this new bond, because the OG Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze now known as the King of Hell seems to have plans for him. 

Black Panther avoiding a confrontation and simply asking the Squadron Supreme why they trust Coulson was a pretty clever tactical move. Black Panther also has deduced that this Squadron may not be who they say they are and Coulson may not care about the best interests of the United States. Jason Aaron has featured some bits of espionage in his Avengers run and while the interactions between Black Panther, Coulson, and his team were face-to-face, this was just the start of a Cold War between the Avengers and Coulson.

Jason Aaron finally showcases the Avengers bonding without the imminent threat of a world-ending event. Despite having just survived a war, Aaron characterizes the team as a group that has their individual insecurities. Aaron shows that he has a full grasp of what makes these characters tick. Thor still fears that he is not worthy despite the rebirth of Mjolnir. Captain America is keeping a mental note of all the threats that the Avengers must be aware of. Captain Marvel is concerned that the team is not ready to face the threats that are on the horizon. Ghost Rider is scared of the demon that has possessed his body. Black Panther on the other hand is more concerned with preparing for any and all enemies and finding a connection to all the threats that pose a danger to the team. The team should be concerned for what Mephisto has planned.

Jason Masters feels in as artist for this issue, and his artwork reminds me of David Marquez. Keith will be a good replacement for Marquez who left for an exclusive contact with DC. The Avengers look awesome thanks to Keith pencils, and he also makes flaming sharks, winged swamp monsters, and flaming boats look good.

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Marcus Freeman

Marcus Freeman

Bay Area bred, LA livin Blerd. Avid fan of comics, video games, music, wrestling, the Lakers, and the 49ers. Constantly catching up on DVR’d TV shows. Spends a little too much money at movie theaters. Also passionate about serving my community and providing the youth with tools for success.
Summary
The Avengers’ enemies are gearing for an attack as the Avengers recover from War of The Realms. Black Panther and Captain America are weary of the next strike, but the rest of the heroes are happy to have some time off. The Avengers must continue to be weary of threats from this world and beyond.
Good
  • Avengers bonding time
  • Avengers face their insecurities
  • Black Panther espionage
  • Coulson using Nick Fury LMDs
Bad
  • She-Hulk and Blade awkwardly flirting
8.5
Great
Story - 8
Art - 8.5
Character Development - 9
Written by
Bay Area bred, LA livin Blerd. Avid fan of comics, video games, music, wrestling, the Lakers, and the 49ers. Constantly catching up on DVR’d TV shows. Spends a little too much money at movie theaters. Also passionate about serving my community and providing the youth with tools for success.

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